National Teaching Artist Research Project (in case you hadn't yet heard)

Posted by John Abodeely, Jul 27, 2009 0 comments

Nick Rabkin, former founder and director of the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College Chicago, researcher, teaching artist expert, and esteemed colleague, has moved from the Center over to the University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). He's conducting the first-ever, national research project about teaching artists. The number one need? Teaching artists who will fill out the survey.

If you're a TA, click here to be heard. There are geographic restrictions, but if you don't try you'll never been seen.

If you're an arts org, contribute. Send a message to your TA's urging them to participate in the survey. If there's one thing we know, it's that "without numbers, you're just another person with an opinion." This means that if someone asks for money, for say, a national association for teaching artists or for health insurance programs for teaching artists, they'll need numbers and other data to show that it's truly needed. Nick's work could bring huge visibility and benefit to the entire field of teaching artistry.

Here's some choice info from the website home of the National Teaching Artist Research Project.

Phase I

Begun in fall 2006, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) worked closely with Nick Rabkin and Columbia's Center for Arts Policy to design the research, conducting stakeholder meetings and focus groups, and developing survey instruments for teaching artists and administrators of teaching artist programs.

Phase 2

The second phase, which started in the summer 2008, builds samples of teaching artists and program administrators in each of the study cities, and then fields the web survey to all sample members. NORC will follow the survey with interviews.

Phase 3

The third phase,  in spring 2009, will focus upon the selection of a subsample of survey respondents as well as key informants in each study site for participation in qualitative interviews. These interviews will illuminate the work teaching artists believe is their best and identify the kinds of structural and organizational supports that enable work at the highest level.

Study sites:

  1. Chicago, IL
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Providence, RI
  5. San Francisco/Alameda County, CA
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Bakersfield, CA
  9. San Bernardino, CA
  10. Santa Cruz, CA
  11. Salinas, CA
  12. Humboldt County, CA

I believe strongly that this moment in time--when we stand to learn a huge amount about teaching artists that we never knew before--could become a turning point moment for teaching artists all over the country and for the arts organizations that rely on them to delivery high-quality and unique arts instruction to learners of all ages in school and community settings.

Let's wish Nick and his team at NORC and U Chicago the absolute best of luck in their work.

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